Seminar on working with Brethren ethos churches

Highgate International Church, London


Working with Brethren-ethos churches

While most churches in Partnership would not identify themselves with the term ‘Brethren’ (other than perhaps that some of them ‘used to be’) the underlying ethos provides a unique set of challenges and opportunities for anyone working with churches of Brethren heritage – whether as a staff-worker or in some other regular ministry role.


To help those who are in their first few years of working with a church in Partnership (or indeed any church that may have a Brethren background) we are holding a morning seminar at Highgate  at Highgate International Church, London, on Saturday 10th March.  Anyone who comes from a different church background will find this seminar to be particularly valuable, but those who (like me) were brought up in an ‘assembly’ will be helped by bringing what are often unspoken assumptions about church life and leadership to the surface.  The seminar is open to all: you don’t need to be a church worker, you may be exploring ministry options, or perhaps a church leader, or someone with years of experience that may benefit others

On the afternoon and evening of Friday 9th we shall be looking at The Church – and exploring our distinctive ecclesiology which affirms the genuine independency of the local church within the universal Body of Christ, yet without the barriers that sometimes are erected by denominationalism or sectarianism. 

These seminars link with our pilot training course for Christian workers which we would like to develop further next academic year.  (Let me know if you might be interested – or use this as a taster session.) Mark Davies (training director of GLO) and I will be teaching and leading the discussions.

If you live outside London (or even if you are local!) we can offer low cost accommodation at the church building so that you can attend the morning seminar – or make it a 24hour event.  There is no charge for the seminar, though there will be the opportunity to contribute towards costs of a light lunch (and breakfast if staying over!).  The programme is below. Please mail me if you are interested in coming so that I can send you more information and we can prepare for the right number of people.
Alistair Hornal


Friday 19.30 – 21.00        Our unique ecclesiology?

Mark Davies will give an overview of historical approaches to church government, showing how Brethren thinking about the church both compares and contrasts.


Saturday programme

Arrival from 9am – coffee and croissants available

09.30                     Welcome – introductions – setting the scene

10.00                     Church leadership

While Brethren-ethos churches are independent and free to develop their own structures, there is much common ground.  Mark Davies will lead an interactive session, exploring how Brethren-background church leaderships have functioned and evolved – and related to other churches.

11.15                     Coffee and conversation

11.45                     Church workers

Drawing on his own experience of working in various church contexts, Alistair Hornal will reflect on the various models of ministry support that Brethren-ethos churches have benefited from – as well as the challenges faced by people who are new to this church context.

13.00                     Light Lunch available